Poetry, the poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield reminds us, was born in need. “We read or write poems because we need them,” she writes in Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. “The first poems were work songs, love songs, war songs, lullabies, prayers – rituals meant to carry assistance.”
Hirshfield is the author of eight poetry collections: Alaya (1982); Of Gravity & Angels (1988); The October Palace (1994); The Lives of the Heart (1997); Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001); After (2006); Come, Thief (2011); and The Beauty (2105). She is also a poetry translator, editor of anthologies, and the author of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and other collections of essays. She’s received enough recognitions and honors to fill two or three articles; see her entry at the Poetry Foundation.
It was coincidence that I was reading Hirshfield’s Ten Windows at the time of the election. Published in 2015, the book is a collection of 10 essays on poetry. The subtitle, “How Great Poems Transform the World,” is somewhat misleading; the essays do not directly address that subject. Indirectly, however, they do. The essays are just subtler about it.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.